Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.
There is no Norse correlation to the American Thanksgiving Holiday. There is really no holiday at all from a Norse perspective at the end of November and the next holiday that would qualify would be Yule which is the last twelve days of December. So what meaning could Thanksgiving have for an atheist/pagan? Honestly, I think it is a nice celebration but it is the term ‘thanksgiving’ that gets me now – thankful to who? The implication is that there is an Invisible Sky Dad to be thankful to for stuff we have and we pause to give thanks to him. As an atheist, yeah no.
My pagan side centers on The Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru, being connected as possible to my heritage and family roots, and celebration of holidays that are based on the seasonal changes of the year. Thanksgiving isn’t about any of that. From my perspective as a harvest festival, it’s a little late in the northern clime where I live. Shit, we have had some snow already and most farmers have put away their shit for winter.
If I am going to be thankful then, I am going to center on people and things that actually exist. Notably, other people in my life that have actually done something to help me or make my life better. Family, freinds and the people that created and founded this country on secular principles. It is after all a national holiday.
One note before we look through the eye – in concerning the former filter I had known as Faith – it is gone and I have decided not to replace it with something else. Probably this is the best symbolism I can make concerning this issue. One less cloudy filter to look through. Live is mysterious enough without religion and faith to further muddy my vision.
Time to Look Through the Eye:
“To see the truth, change one eye for another”
Being thankful is probably more a part of the virtue of Hospitality, so it becomes a matter of who would one invite and show hospitality to as an expression of that thankfulness. This is a matter for meditation but it ends with the people who have made decisions that have actually benefited my life. There is quite a list to lift a mug of mead to in that regard. Not just living today but in the past. Ancestors both biological and philosophical that in the end revolutionized the world I live in right now.
I don’t think the mystery is so much divine any more to me but the question of who my ancestors actually were and what influence they had on my life. There is a lot of unknowns that need to be discovered and I anxiously await the means to do so. If there is a legacy to be left to my grandchildren, it is to pull back the veil here and see the truth of who I am.
The spirituality I can see with Thanksgiving is at some point my family will gather, we will share and meal and drink and talk about old times. It’s the connections we have that make it a spiritual occasion. Of course, I have to work that day but that isn’t my employer’s fault.
I work in retail so I will be from noon till 9 pm on Thursday at work doing the initial Black “Friday” sales. I always find this an interesting study in human behavior. People decry that we have to work and should be home like everyone else, while they are shopping on the very day. If companies didn’t make money because no one showed up on principle, they wouldn’t do it. I suppose this is the best I can say for Thanksgiving – let the Christmas shopping begin. Salute to all my brothers and sisters working this holiday season in retail – “May the odds be ever in your favor”.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.